Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

30 Mar 2012 by BusinessTraveller

BACKGROUND Open since November, this is the first property under the hotel group’s five-star Park Hyatt brand to open in Abu Dhabi, and one of two Hyatt properties to have been launched in the emirate in the past six months, the other being Hyatt Capital Gate.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? A low-rise beachside new-build, the 310-room Park Hyatt backs on to swimming pools, palm trees and the sea, creating a resort-like environment for those with time to relax, while also offering business travellers a well-appointed setting in which to work. The expansive lobby has marble floors, trickling water features, a sweeping ceiling installation intended to reflect undulating sand dunes, and well-trained staff on hand to help with luggage and show you to your room. A lot of money has been spent on selecting materials and furnishings, and the overall effect is of a peaceful, private, distinguished place to stay.

WHERE IS IT? On Saadiyat Island, which is connected to Abu Dhabi Island by the Shahama-Saadiyat Highway, making it 30 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from downtown. Just along the road from the newly opened St Regis, the area is set to welcome a slew of hotels over the next few years, as well as Guggenheim and Louvre art galleries, but at the moment there is not much else.

ROOM FACILITIES Rooms are all 50 sqm, while suites start from 100 sqm and villas from 200 sqm. Most face on to the swimming pools at the back while those on higher floors offer a view of the ocean. The décor throughout is a pleasing blend of neutral eggshell, grey, black and cream, with marble floors and elegant furnishings. All rooms come with floor-to-ceiling windows that open on to a large terrace with a couch and coffee table (the villas also have private plunge pools).

Open-plan bathrooms, which are fitted with twin Toto sinks, freestanding tubs and wet areas with rainshowers, can be sealed off for privacy with a sliding door. Standard amenities include an iron and ironing board, a safe, 24-hour room service, a 40-inch flatscreen TV, a JBL iPod dock, a Blu-ray player, waffle robes, lots of free mineral water, wired and wifi internet for Dhs 64 (£11) per day, air conditioning, a UK plug socket by the workdesk, and a drinks station with a Nespresso machine (I couldn’t get this to work properly) and a minibar. I found the king-size bed comfy and liked being able to open the door to the terrace for fresh air. The lighting system was easy to use, with clearly labelled switches by the bed.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS It’s impossible not to eat well here. Lavish buffet breakfasts, lunches and dinners are laid out in the Café between 6am and midnight, with all manner of delicious, freshly prepared dishes on offer, from salads, seafood and curries to cakes, chocolate fountains and fresh juice. The light-filled Beach House serves lunch and dinner in a relaxed setting, offering a similarly eclectic menu to the Café but with more of a Mediterranean slant. It also has open-air seating on the roof and terraces facing the sea. For fine dining, the Park Bar and Grill specialises in meat and seafood. It is open in the evenings from 7pm. Service is friendly and attentive.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES A concept that will be rolled out across selected Hyatt hotels (it can already be found in Grand Hyatt Bangkok, Dubai and Melbourne), the 1,220 sqm lobby-level Residence is a homely event venue integrated within the hotel. The idea is to create a series of meeting spaces modelled on the concept of a Moroccan-themed residence – there is an inner welcome “courtyard” area with sofas, a kitchen and a dining room, plus three ground-floor salons, the largest of which hosts 100 delegates. There is also a ballroom for 600 people, and the garden for 700. The Library doubles as a stylish tea lounge, where it is common to see guests playing chess, and a business centre (7am-11pm).

LEISURE FACILITIES As well as plenty of loungers and outdoor pools, there is the beach, which is good for jogging or sunbathing if it’s not too windy, and a spa with a 24-hour gym, another outdoor pool, steam rooms, saunas, spa baths and nine treatment rooms. I had the unusual – yet effective – signature golf ball deep-body massage (Dhs 710/£123 for 90 minutes). Opposite the hotel is the separately run Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.

VERDICT A superb addition to Abu Dhabi’s fast-expanding luxury hotel market. It has outstanding facilities, is not far from the airport and downtown, and is a more tranquil alternative to a property in the heart of the metropolis.

FACT FILE

HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 310 – 267 rooms in four categories (Park King/Twin, Sea View King/Twin), 39 suites (Garden/Beach View, Park Terrace/Executive, Diplomatic, Presidential) and four villas.

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The luxurious bathroom, the iPod dock and the large outdoor terrace overlooking the pools and sea.

PRICE Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in May started from Dhs 1,392 (£241) for a Park King room.

CONTACT Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, Saadiyat Island; tel +971 2407 1234; abudhabi.park.hyatt.com

Jenny Southan

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